Best Ozark Trail Tents For Budget-Friendly Camping

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Getting outdoors doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and the best Ozark Trail tents are on a mission to prove it!
Best Ozark Trail Tent - Intro
Our Best Choice Overall: The Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin

Every year, thousands of new campers get their first taste of the outdoors in an Ozark Trail tent. Their combination of space and affordability catches the eye of many campers, but the details on these shelters can be lacking. If you’re considering an Ozark Trail yourself, you’re in the right place.

Our favorite Ozark Trail tent currently is the Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin. This tent’s combination of floor space, livability, and value make it a home run for large groups or families looking to spread out in style, but this 12-person behemoth won’t be everyone’s first choice.

You might want something more compact, something easier to set up, or something easier on the wallet. The good news is we’ve got something for everyone in the list below.

We’ve also put together a handy buyer’s guide down at the bottom as a resource for shoppers who are new to the Ozark Trail brand, so make sure to check it out. There you’ll find all the info you could ever want on the materials, build quality, and weather-worthiness of these affordable tents.

Alright, let’s dive into it!

ProductSummary
Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin: Best OverallHuge three-room floor plan with an exterior awning for added shade and drip-free entry. Instant cabin design for easy setup. See Review
Ozark Trail Clip & Camp Dome Tent: Best Overall QualityTraditional two-pole dome design and an above-average rainfly make this one of the most dependable shelters in the Ozark lineup. Dirt cheap, but also packs cool features like an external gear locker. See Review
Ozark Trail 10 Person Two-Room Cabin: Best On A BudgetA proper family camping tent on a shoestring budget. Tons of interior space, tall ceilings, and an easy-to-pitch design. See Review
Ozark Trail 9 Person Cabin: Best Ozark Trail Tent With A Screen RoomA large two-room cabin tent with a bonus screen room. Extra livability without the extra cost. See Review
Ozark Trail Premium Camping Combo: Best One-Stop-Shop For New CampersA spacious camping tent and all the basics to go with it. Sleeping bags, pads, camp chairs and more are all included in the price. See Review
Ozark Trail 8 Person YurtCool single wall yurt design for a unique camping experience. Spacious shelter with 360-degree views. See Review

Best Ozark Trail Tents

Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin: Best Overall

Specs:
Weight: 55 lbs (25kg)
Packed size: 52” x 14” x 13” (132m x 36cm x 33cm)
Floor size: 192” x 192” (488cm x 488cm)
Peak height: 82” (208cm)
Rooms: 3
Shape: Cabin
Occupancy: 12 people
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $$

The Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin takes our top spot as the best Ozark Trail tent. With room for 12 and nearly seven-foot ceilings, it checks all our boxes for a big family tent, but even as cabin shelters go, this one is special.

The unique layout of this tent is the first thing that stood out to us: Three rooms built into an “L” shape footprint, all of which revolve around a central exterior awning. Both of the tent’s doors open into this covered space, which provides campers a shady spot to hang when the weather is good, and a dry entrance/exit when it isn’t.

Each of the cabin’s three rooms includes its own privacy divider, and each is large enough to fit a queen-sized mattress as well, so it’s a great option for large groups or families. Other perks of the Three Room Instant Cabin include an instant tent design with pre-attached poles for easy set-up and dual ground-level vents designed to work with a tent air conditioner.

There’s a lot to love here, but as the Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin is still a budget department store tent, you’ll want to be aware of a few shortcomings. First, although this is an instant tent, the unique layout and integrated awning make setup a little more involved than most. Second, the tall vertical walls and “L” shape make it about as far from aerodynamic as they come. Do NOT phone in the guyline portion of set-up (regardless of the weather) or you’ll risk damaging the tent. Finally, the material of this shelter is noticeably higher quality than many Ozark Trail tents, but the 68D polyester is still not as thick as we’d like. You’ll want to properly inspect the tent when you receive it to ensure it wasn’t damaged in transit (this is a common complaint), and take care not to overstress the material when pitching it and taking it back down. No Ozark Trail tent is perfect, but as far as full-size family camping tents go, this is the one to beat.

Pros:Cons:
– Quick and easy “instant tent” setup
– Exterior awning adds shade and rain protection
– Massive floorplan with smart layout
– More involved setup than most “instant” tents
– Not built for strong winds
– Would prefer thicker material for the money



Ozark Trail Clip And Camp Dome Tent: Highest Overall Quality

Specs:
Weight: 14 lbs (6.4 kg)
Packed size: 24” x 9” x 6” (61cm x 23cm x 15cm)
Floor size: 144” x 102” (366cm x 260cm)
Peak height: 72” (183cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Occupancy: 6 person
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $

Oddly enough, Ozark Trail’s most basic, base bones shelter takes the title of most durable. We chose the Ozark Trail Clip & Camp because unlike larger cabins with plastic hubs and countless poles, this traditional two-pole dome has the fewest number of parts that can potentially fail.

This shelter may be the least expensive in our roundup, but it still packs some sweet features worth noting. Our favorite is the “storage locker” which gives you a protected place to store items like muddy shoes outside the tent, but can also be accessed from inside using a second zipper. It’s a great spot to stash your “middle of the night bathroom break” shoes and anything else you don’t want taking up space inside the tent.

The Clip & Camp also gets high marks for its fast and easy pitch: The fiberglass poles are freestanding inside plastic support “boots” so all you have to do is clip the tent body onto the frame, then throw the fly on as needed.

Of course those fiberglass poles make us nervous for windy weather, and although the Clip & Camp has significantly better rainfly coverage than your typical Ozark Trail tent, we’d prefer to see a full-coverage design with a zippable front vestibule. You’ll still want to give it a proper waterproofing treatment and take full advantage of its limited guyline points if you’re expecting any weather, but this simple dome will fair better in wind and rain than most of its larger cousins.

Pros:Cons:
– Most affordable in our roundup
– Simple dome design minimizes potential failure points
– Exterior “storage locker”
– Fiberglass frame
– Full coverage rainfly would be better



Ozark Trail 10 Person 2 Room Cabin: Best On A Budget

Specs:
Weight: 34.6 lbs (15.7kg)
Packed size: 30” x 12” x 11” (76cm x 30cm x 28cm)
Floor size: 168” x 120” (427cm x 305cm)
Peak height: 86” (218cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Cabin
Occupancy: 10 people
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $

Ozark Trail is all about big family camping tents on a budget, and few are as big and budget-friendly as the Ozark Trail 10 Person Two-Room Cabin.

Layout wise is virtually identical to the Core Instant Cabin we evaluated for our 10 person tent roundup, but delivers those same massive interior dimensions for about $100 less. Cabin-style construction means vertical walls and impressively high ceilings (they’re over 7 feet) span the length of the tent, so you’ll have plenty of room to spread out even with two queen-sized mattresses inside.

This isn’t an instant tent, but ease of use is still a high point of this model thanks to the simple setup. Just slide the roof poles into place, then plug the side and corner poles into their designated hubs and raise it all up. Two people can get this cabin set up in about five minutes, but setting the 2 Room Cabin up solo isn’t out of the question either.

In terms of drawbacks, this is a particularly budget-friendly model from an already budget-focused brand, so you’ll need to be mindful of a few shortcomings to get the most out of this shelter. First, Ozark Trail uses sealed seams on this tent, but the fabric itself isn’t made for a rainstorm. You’ll want to give the entire tent a thorough Nikwax treatment before taking it on the road. Second, the fabric feels thin, and a few users have reported ripping it during setup, so you’ll need to take your time both setting up and taking down this tent. The ceiling is also made from fiberglass poles, so all things considered we’d recommend this as a fairweather camping tent, but if you’re looking for an affordable shelter for the whole family, the value is tough to beat.

Pros:Cons:
– Massive floor plan
– Tons of headroom Great price
– Waterproofing needs some help
– Thin tent fabric
– Fiberglass roof poles



Ozark Trail 9 Person Cabin: Best Ozark Trail Tent With Screen Room

Specs:
Weight: 41 lbs (18.6 kg)
Packed size: 48” x 11” x 11” (122cm x 28cm x 28cm)
Floor size: 168” x 162” (427cm x 411cm)
Peak height: 84” (213cm)
Rooms: 2
Shape: Cabin
Occupancy: 9 people
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $

Having room to spread out inside a tent is great, but unless it’s after dark or raining, chances are you won’t be spending any more time inside your shelter than you absolutely have to. Nobody wants to spend all day sitting in direct sunlight either though, and that’s where a tent with a screen room like this Ozark Trail 9 Person Cabin comes into play.

We love this tent because it’s got all the same features of Ozark Trail’s best-selling cabin tents like seven-foot ceilings and a spacious two-room floor plan, but also includes a shady (and bug-free) place to hang out during the day. This screened-in shelter also gets high points for its price, which is always a selling point with an Ozark Trail tent, but this one represents a particularly good value considering all its features.

The Ozark Trail 9 Person Cabin shares the same shortcomings as the other discount cabins found in the Ozark Trail lineup, most notably being its weather protection and durability. In terms of weather protection this is definitely another one of those Ozark Trail tents you’ll want to give a thorough Nikwax treatment, and we also recommend double-checking the factory seam taping as a few owners have reported wavy/incomplete taping in parts of the tent. We also don’t recommend this tent for high winds because although all the poles are steel, Ozark Trail uses a thin-walled alloy that can bend under stress and plastic hubs that we wouldn’t trust in serious storms. As far as fairweather shelters go, however, this one may be the best value in terms of livability for your money.

Pros:Cons:
– Great price
– Screen room adds livability
– Instant tent setup
– Not built for bad weather
– Questionable pole and hub quality



Ozark Trail Premium Camping Combo: Best One-Stop-Shop For New Campers

Specs:
Weight: 42 lbs (19 kg) for entire kit
Packed size: 36” x 16” x 16” (91cm x 41cm x 41cm) for entire kit
Floor size: 120” x 108” (305cm x 274cm)
Peak height: 72” (183cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Dome
Occupancy: 6 (4 person also available)
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $$

Picture this: You get invited to a holiday weekend at a nearby campground, and all your favorite family and friends are planning on going. You don’t want to miss it, but there’s just one problem: You don’t own any camping gear whatsoever. Enter the Ozark Trail Premium Camping Combo, a 28-piece kit that includes a big 6-person dome tent and everything you need for two people to enjoy a weekend in the woods.

The sheer quantity of camping gear that’s included at this price landed the Ozark Trail Combo on our list. For your money you’ll be getting: A 6 person dome tent, two sleeping bags, two foam sleeping pads, two camp pillows, and two foldable camping chairs, plus a ton of bonus goodies like camp towels, dry bags, a lantern, a tent fan, and even a backpack to tote around all the extra accessories.

The tent itself is nice and roomy, and boasts a 6-foot peak height to make changing clothes a drama-free endeavor. Setup is easy thanks to a traditional pole-in-sleeve design, and although the rainfly doesn’t stretch all the way down to the ground, it does shield all the vulnerable mesh areas of the shelter including the front window thanks to a simple pole-supported awning.

Now, this goes without saying but we’re going to say it anyway: If your goal is to sleep reasonably comfortably and reasonably protected from the elements, every piece of this tent is going to “get the job done.” However, nothing in this kit is going to amaze you with its quality or performance. The sleeping pads are made from thin non-reflective foam, the sleeping bags are bulky and basic, and the tent itself is incredibly simple with a single front window and a shallow mesh ceiling for ventilation purposes. You’ll want to treat this gear with care and put some work into waterproofing it before use, but if you tried to put a kit this size together one piece at a time, you’d easily spend at least twice as much. It’s a tough deal to beat for two people feeling “camp curious” though, and has plenty of room for a queen-sized mattress if you’d prefer to stay off the ground.

Pros:Cons:
– Includes spacious 6 person dome tent
– Everything two people need to start camping
– Great deal for this much gear
– Tent lacks livability features
– Included bags/pads very basic
– Marginal quality accessories



Ozark Trail 8 Person Yurt

Specs:
Weight: 22.6 lbs (10.2 kg)
Packed size: 36” x 14” x 6” (91cm x 36cm x 15cm)
Floor size: 156” x 156” (396cm x 396cm)
Peak height: 92” (234cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Bell
Occupancy: 8 person
Best for: Three-season family camping
Price: $$

Yurt tents, bell tents… Whatever you want to call them, they’re a cool alternative to traditional dome or cabin-style tents. Tall doors, tall ceilings, and roomy interiors are all perks of a yurt tent, but most yurts share the same issue: They’re expensive. The Ozark Trail 8 Person Yurt, however, may very well be the world’s most affordable bell tent.

The Ozark Trail Yurt gets high marks for its overall interior space with 169 square feet of floor room and ceilings over 7 feet tall at their peak. That’s plenty of room for two queen mattresses with room left over for some chairs, a cooler, and a camp table. Speaking of camp tables Ozark Trail actually includes a small table with this shelter, which mounts at the base of the main support pole to make the most of the tent’s interior space. The table includes four large hanging mesh pockets at its sides, which, along with the multiple pockets found along the walls of the Ozark Trail Yurt, make storage and organization another high point of the tent.

It’s a cool tent all around, but our favorite feature has to be the 360-degree views delivered courtesy of this yurt’s giant mesh windows. There are three of these large floor-level windows along the walls of the tent, plus the giant mesh doorway that can be left open in good weather.

So yes, the Ozark Trail is an absolute steal of a deal if you’re into the bell tent design, but there are a few shortcomings you’ll want to be aware of if you’re considering it. First, although it’s a great space to hang in good weather, the yurt’s ventilation struggles to keep up in serious heat. If you plan to use it during summer, you may want to consider taking advantage of its e-port to run a tent air conditioner. Second, it’ll take you a bit longer to pitch this than a traditional tent, especially considering Ozark Trail uses multiple interior “support poles” for the walls rather than relying on the strength of the guy lines alone. Finally, keep in mind that this is a single wall shelter, which means there’s a lot riding on the quality of the tent fabric and seams. Plenty of customers swear by the Ozark Trail Yurt’s waterproofing, but we recommend treating it with an extra DWR treatment and sealing any missing seams before putting it to work.

Pros:Cons:
– Lots of interior space
– Super affordable for a yurt style tent
– Great views via huge mesh windows and doors
– Cool alternative to traditional shelters
– Ventilation not great for hot and humid days
– Set-up is more involved than traditional tents
– Single-wall construction means there’s a lot riding on the fabric quality



Buying Guide For Best Ozark Trail Tents

Despite what you may have read, you can absolutely enjoy an outdoors experience in an Ozark Trail tent. Yes, Ozark Trail is a department store brand (Walmart, specifically), and no, they aren’t particularly modern or high-tech, but they’ve been getting new campers outdoors for years and doing it on a shoestring budget at that.

Best Ozark Trail Tent - Buying Guide
Ozark Trail tents are among the highest value for money on the market

With that being said, there are a few things you’ll want to know going into your purchase. First, all Ozark Trail tents should be considered “fair-weather” shelters. That doesn’t mean they all leak when it rains or collapse when it’s windy, but they simply aren’t built for bad weather. Light wind and rain should be fine, but you’ll want to take some steps to prepare for both (more on that below).

Second, Ozark Trail tents are affordable because they use very basic materials. All Ozark Trail poles are either steel alloy or fiberglass, and the fabrics used throughout the tent are typically on the thinner side. Again, not a deal-breaker, but don’t expect these tents to stand up to the same use and abuse as their premium alternatives from brands.

Size And Shape

Ozark Trail makes camping tents, so the ideal size and shape generally follows the same rules for the best camping tents. You’ll want a large floor plan and ceilings over six feet tall for maximum comfort. Remember tent sizes reflect the maximum number of sleepers that can fit in a shelter laying side by side. As a good rule of thumb, you’ll want to “add two” for a comfortable tent, so if you’re sleeping two adults and two children, a six-person or larger shelter will be your best bet.

Shape wise most Ozark Trail tents either come in a cabin or dome shape. Cabin tents typically have more room inside to stretch out thanks to their high ceilings and vertical walls, so most Ozark Trail shoppers will likely want to focus on cabin tents.

Best Ozark Trail Tent - Size and Shape
Cabin tents = vertical wall and a lot of space!

Large dome tents are also an option, and although they’re a little less flashy, they have some perks of their own. First off, dome tents are typically less expensive since they have fewer total parts and less sophisticated frames. Second, dome tents tend to fare better in bad weather because they’re rounded shapes are more aerodynamic. Ozark Trail tents are pretty much all “fair-weather” shelters, but dome tents get the advantage here.

Weight And Packed Size

Again, Ozark Trail tents are mainly fair weather camping tents (so you won’t be hiking into the backcountry with them) which means weight and packed size aren’t a big priority.

The one exception to the rule here is for the larger cabin-style tents, especially those with an “instant tent” design that uses pre-attached poles. These shelters tend to be much heavier and bulkier when packed up due to the frame design, so you’ll want to make sure you’ve got room to transport them in your vehicle and store them in your home before buying.

The Ozark Trail 9 Person Cabin being packed

Livability

Livability describes the overall day-to-day experience of owning and using a tent, and tents that are more comfortable, convenient, and easy to use score the highest in terms of livability.

Yes, we all want a big spacious tent with room for plush sleeping quarters, but we also recommend looking for the little features that can elevate your camping experience. Interior storage is a great example, as all those little mesh pockets help keep things organized and off the floor. Screen rooms, shade awnings, storage vestibules, and privacy dividers are also great examples of livability-added features. These features all work together to make a tent feel more like your home away from home and less like a makeshift shelter in the woods.

Best Ozark Trail Tent - Livability
The Ozark Trail 9 Person Cabin comes with a screen room and scores high in livability

Weather Protection

Generally speaking, if you go into buying an Ozark Trail tent with reasonable expectations, you won’t be disappointed. None of these tents are designed to hold up in a serious thunderstorm. They’re not built for heavy winds, and they certainly aren’t made to stand up to heavy snow.

Best Ozark Trail Tent - Weather Protection
Ozark Trail tents requires regular waterproofing treatments to make sure you always stay dry

With that being said, Ozark Trail does a good job of seam-sealing their tents from the factory in most cases, and with a little help, these budget-shelters can keep you dry when unexpected rain hits. Take time to treat the entire tent with a DWR coating like Nikwax (not just the rainfly) and never leave the house without a tent repair kit in case disaster strikes.

Durability And Materials

As stated above, durability and materials are the main pain point of Ozark Trail tents. The fabrics are often thinner and less technical (regular polyester rather than ripstop, etc.), and the poles are pretty much always made from cost-saving materials like fiberglass and thin steel alloy.

The main thing to know going into an Ozark Trail purchase is that you need to do your due diligence not to overstress the materials because a heavy hand can absolutely damage them. Take time to inspect your tent when you first get it (damages from shipping are common), and don’t ever “force” anything when setting up or tearing down your shelter.

Best Ozark Trail Tent - Durability
Ozark Trail fiberglass poles requires careful attention if you want your tent to last long

You’ll also want to take full advantage of your Ozark Trail tent’s guyline system: Tents get the overwhelming majority of their strength from properly tensioned guylines, so skip this step at your own peril If you want to get your money’s worth out of your purchase.

Ease Of Setup

Ease of setup (how easy it is to pitch and take down a tent) is pretty much always a high mark for Ozark Trail tents. These tents are built for first-time and/or fairweather campers, so Ozark Trail puts a lot of effort into making them easy to use.

The easiest models to pitch are pretty much always “instant tent” shelters, which use a system of preattached poles than only need to be unfolded and locked into place. With that being said, we have yet to see an Ozark Trail tent that’s actually “difficult” to set up, so there’s no reason to limit your search to “instant-only” if you don’t mind putting your own poles together.

Conclusion

For all the reasons mentioned above, we’ve found that the Ozark Trail Three Room Instant Cabin is the best Ozark Trail tent overall. Its combination of a spacious floor plan, smart layout, and added livability all work together to make it the stand-out model in the Ozark Trail lineup.

The three-room cabin is definitely one of Ozark Trail’s more expensive models though, so if you’re shopping on a budget, there are plenty of other models worth considering. The Clip & Camp dome is particularly affordable, and also happens to be one of the most dependable models the brand currently makes.

Best Ozark Trail Tent - Conclusion
Our Best Choice On A Budget: The Ozark Trail 10-Person Two-Room

If you’re looking to save money but still want that cabin tent experience, the Ozark Trail 10-Person Two-Room Cabin is tough to beat. If you’re willing to spend a few extra bucks (emphasis on few), the Ozark Trail 9-Person Cabin with a screen room gives some added livability at a similar price point.

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